A stage win for Roma in CopiapoReview the Leg 12 highlights of the 2013 DAKAR

Copiapo seems such a long way from Fiambala: approximately 500km, half of which was on dirt and included interminable climbs, steep descents and a bumpy asphalt road that just never seemed to end. However, the overnight camp situated some 10km from Copiapo sits in the middle of sumptuous dunes which made the long journey well worth the effort.

This year, the drive down the awesome dune that towers over the camp was not on the menu. Instead, the finish was located about four kilometres away, on a dirt track in the middle of a vast deserted plateau. Meanwhile, this was the last predominantly sandy stage of the 2013 event and consequently perhaps the final chance for the USA’s Robby Gordon to profit from the potential of his Hummer.

Indeed, the flamboyant American spent most of the stage in the lead (up to Km222) but he was beaten at the very end by Nani Roma who took advantage of the last 40km of stony ground to catch and pass the Hummer. Roma’s win takes him past his team-mate Leonid Novitskiy to third overall. Novitskiy was only ninth today as he recovered from the emotions of Wednesday when his Mini was swept away by a river.

Giniel de Villiers was third-fastest on the stage, just 7s behind Gordon. He still figures in second position overall behind Stéphane Peterhansel who collected the fourth best time on SS12. Guerlain Chicherit fell back from seventh place after encountering transmission trouble, but Orly Terranova is still fifth ahead of Carlos Sousa (Great Wall) and Ronan Chabot whose SMG team-mate Bernard Errandonea got stuck in sand along with Christian Lavieille.

The Truck class saw Karginov and Mardeev secure a one-two finish today for Kamaz/Michelin, ahead of the Michelin-equipped Ivecos of De Rooy and Biasion. The provisional overall top-three is monopolised by Kamaz drivers Nikolaev, Mardeev and Karginov. De Rooy is fifth, behind Kolomy.

Stage 12 classification

  • 1. Roma/Périn (Mini), 3h36min34s
  • 2. Gordon/Walch (Hummer), +4min18s
  • 3. De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz (Toyota), +4min25s
  • 4. Peterhansel/Cottret (Mini), +6min03s
  • 5. erranova/Fiuza (BMW), +6min26s...

Provisional positions after Leg 12

  • 1. Peterhansel/Cottret (Mini), 32h50min02s
  • 2. De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz (Toyota), +50min21s
  • 3. Roma/Périn (Mini), +1h31min06s
  • 4. Novitskiy/Zhilstov (Mini), +1h34min47s
  • 5. Terranova/Fiuza (BMW), +2h01min50s...